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Retirement of Serial-Killer-Catching Congressman Gives Democrats an Opening

Dave Reichert, who as King County sheriff caught a deadly serial killer, announced he is retiring from Congress.

Dave Reichert

Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA), a seven-term congressman who helped capture a serial killer as King County Sheriff in Washington state, announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election in 2018. This announcement comes as five Democrats have announced their intention to run for Reichert’s seat in the Eighth Congressional District, which voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

While Reichert has safely held the Eighth District for almost a decade, today’s news could further embolden Democrats who seek to flip the seat. The Democratic primary field is crowded with inexperienced challengers, but grassroots movements in the wake of President Trump’s election have been widespread in the suburbs surrounding Seattle.

Reichert stated that he made the decision over the August break in consultation with his family, saying that the decision was not an easy one but the right one.

Reichert has a 40-year history of serving Washington state, beginning in the early 1970s when he joined the King County Sheriff’s Department as well as the U.S. Air Force Reserves. After being appointed sheriff of King County in 1997, Reichert headed up the Green River Task Force which captured one of America’s deadliest serial killers:

In 2003, Reichert made headlines in Washington state after catching Gary Ridgway, who was convicted of raping and strangling more than 48 women and confessed to killing many more. Reichert rode that popularity to Capitol Hill, trading a 30-year policing career for the comparatively mundane world of Beltway politics.

“I am humbled to have been trusted by the people of Washington’s 8th District to be their voice in Congress; it is an honor I have not taken lightly,” Reichert said in statement Wednesday. “Each and every day, I have committed to serving the 8th District and our nation with the heart of a servant.”

Following Reichert’s announcement, Inside Elections changed its rating of Washington’s Eighth Congressional District from “Solid Republican” to “Tilt Democratic.” Similarly, Larry Sabato’s “Crystal Ball” moved the race from “Likely Republican” to “Toss-Up.”